Months ago on a Sunday evening, my dad called a family counsel.
In my parents living room all nine of us siblings and spouses
listened as my dad began saying that the last time we had a family counsel
similar to this was when "Cubby was in her accident almost eight years ago".
I then knew that whatever my dad was going to say was going to be bad.
We knew my brother Topher was having health problems;
his back hurt all the time and it was beginning to be hard for him to walk.
Occasionally he'd text us siblings and request our faith
and prayers since he was in a lot of pain and
not sure what was going on.
My little family began fasting for him every month.
Topher sat at the head of the room with his wife Lisa
beside him and began talking about tests, doctors, hospital visits,
and then my mind began spinning. I felt sick.
I felt hot but was freezing and mostly I just wanted this
moment to stop- especially before he told us
what he had discovered about his health.
Christopher had been diagnosed with ALS.
ALS is an terminal disease with no cure.
Topher and his wife Lisa had known about his diagnosis for some weeks
and had already began processing what this meant for them, for
their family, and for the rest of their lives.
As Toph talked more and more about what ALS meant
I wanted to get up and run away.
I had very similar feelings when I was bound and intubated in the hospital.
People would talk to me, and about me while I just lay there
frozen unable to move or talk.
A lot of times I would imagine me getting
up and in a hulk-like frenzy ripping all the tubes
out and away from me so I could run far, far away.
So far away that my painful and disappointing reality magically disappeared.
I felt like the faster I could run the more I'd get better and stronger.
One night I actually attemepted this and was subsequently given a babysitter
to sit in the corner of my room for the rest of my hospital stay
because I was a danger to myself.
Running away played over and over in my head as all of us siblings took in
Tophers new challenges and limitations.
I wanted to run away right then and I wanted to take Christopher along with me.
I wanted to throw his cane away, grab his hand and run out the door faster
and further away from the situation we were in.
"Christopher run!" I'd yell "Faster Topher! Faster, hang on to me,
your legs will work again
and pretty soon your body won't stop, just keep running with me."
After the meeting I tried in sobs to explain to
Topher my feelings about running away,
but who can understand anyone who sobs and talks at the same time,
and to be honest this imagery is a little over the top.
We talk and read about Christ breaking the bands (or chains) of death, and
I know that one day our failing bodies will be perfect again.
Christopher and I both believe this because we have faith
and hope and because we believe in Christ.
The scripture in Matthew 28:6 has come to mind several times
since our family counsel.
Christ has overcome the sting of death through the Resurrection.
I believe this, and I know through His miracle Christopher won't suffer
with ALS forever. It will not be the end. Christopher will be made whole again.
"(Our) loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand
before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind.
What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will
be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle
or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally
'free at last".
Now, Christopher is a creative genius.
He acts (Paul in the Bible videos) and has directed
some of the most creative plays I've ever seen.
A few years ago he directed "Xanadu" (please tell me you know what Xanadu is).
As a benefit for Topher and his family, Xanadu is coming back!!
Most of the original cast are flying in from all over to help raise money.
To get tickets or see how you can help, please go HERE!